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3 Tips to Make Pasover Easy and Avoid the Expensive Stuff!

13 Apr

For many years I heard the complaints and gave in.   I kept kosher and like so many other people I found that my husband and son  thought that they could not survive without pasta or Cheerios for 8 days.  So, I gave in,  I bought the Pesach version of pasta (yuck!) and the Pesach version of Cheerios (3 or four times the price per volume!) and found they were not very good.

I found some basic steps I could take to minimize the expense by avoiding the prepared or convenience items which I rarely use anyway and maximize the taste by using more fresh products.So, no cake mixes.  No paying extra for broken matzoh (crumble it yourself if you need to!). Enjoy my brownie recipe using potato starch rather than flour!

First, think in terms of the Mediterranean diet or the Oriental diets.  More vegetables, prepared different ways alongside smaller portions of proteins for dinners especially during the week. I love roasted vegetables (white and sweet potatoes, zucchini and more) alongside roasted or baked chicken as well as a stir fry of onion, garlic, mushrooms, peppers, zucchini and yellow squash and more.  There is always salads like spinach with strawberry to spice things up.

Secondly, think a bit of flexibility on your menus. Burgers don’t need fillers such as matzoh meal or bread crumbs.  Without that, they don’t need the egg t hold it together. Mix the ground beef with chopped onions and garlic and shape the burgers into sliders. Bake, grill or fry as normally would and enjoy!  You can also add herbs in the mixture as you choose!

Thirdly, since my husband is now Gluten-Free as we found out he has Celiac I prepare his food without wheat. We love to make potatoes several ways.  I make potato kugel (with or without carrots, zucchini or sweet potatoes for color), I make mashed potatoes with sauteed onion (using olive oil and no dairy or dairy substitute).  Now according to many authorities quinoa is acceptable during Passover!! Hooray as we love it.

If you are in the area of Palm Beach County, Florida you can hire ChefHelen as your Personal Chef.  ChefHelen can do the shopping for menus we have planned out together and prepare the meals in your home on YOUR equipment

 

Just call, email or text me to set up your free consultation.  Chef Helen Gottesman

561-676-2078 .chefhelen@helenshomecooking.com

Check out my website at http://www.helenshomecooking.com

#matzo #KOSHERCHEF #Pesach #Passover #Recipes

 

 

 

Enjoy Dinners Professionally Prepared in Your Home

21 Mar

Chef Helen prepares weekly meals for you and your family

Meal plans from as little as $25.00 per person!

Experienced in kosher, Gluten-Free, Salt Free and Sugar Free Diets and more.

Call today for your free consultation! 561-676-2078 helen@helenshomecooking.com

cropped-373595_132948006725472_546601166_n.jpg

 

Time Magazine’s list of Broken New Years Resolutions Same as 2015?

30 Dec

Man plans, G-d laughs.

We make resolutions whether out loud, written or to ourselves.  According to Time Magazine, here is the list of most broken New Years resolutions.  How can we do better this year?

Do you need someone to guide you with exercise, relaxation, fiscal responsibility, educating yourself, or my favorite:  EATING BETTER.

I can help you with eating better and refer to some of the best local (South Florida) people to help you with the rest!

Do you need help planning menus?Are you looking for someone to prepare meals in your home that will address any health issues and will please the palate of everyone in your household?

Call Chef Helen at 561-676-2078 or email to schedule your free in-home pr phone consultation.

helen@helenshomecooking.com or check out my website at

http://www.helenshomecooking.com

Comfort Foods

15 Dec

As a Personal Chef I talk to people about food. Most importantly I speak with my current and future clients about how food makes them feel.  Food is emotionally charged. Some people had bad experiences, being forced to eat poorly prepared vegetables growing up that made them forever avoid healthy choices and add to their poor nutrition and poor health.

My goal is to turn that around for people.  I talk to the potential client , preferably in their home.  I find out what they eat and WHY.  I am no therapist but giving people roast cauliflower or roast beets that are good enough to snack on has been the beginning of changing people’s lives.

I learn about their cultural food choices.  while with my background as an Ashkenazic Jew, brisket and Pflaumen kuchen top my list as do my mother’s spritz cookies (recipes another time) for an Italian it my be meatballs and spaghetti or Lasagna.  I find your comfort foods, your dietary needs (are you allergic to a specific food? are you kosher (my specialty!!) supposed to lower your fat or salt  or do you just HATE peanut butter like I do?) .

I figure out the menu with your help.  I shop for all ingredients on the way to your home and cook everything there.

Since my focus is kosher clients, by using the clients equipment I don’t have questions about anything getting mixed up.

561-676-2078 helen@helenshomecooking.com

Chef Helen Gottesman

 

 

 

Potato Latkes Hannukah is Coming Book Your Date Now Before It’s Taken Hannukah’s Coming Soon. Book Y our Date Nowour Dinner Plans Now Before We Are Full!

6 Dec
http://forms.aweber.com/form/16/373053016.htm  Click here if you want to get on our Classic-Latkes-Applesauce-2mailing list for cooking and recipe tips

 

Chanukah or is it Hannukah?  The holiday name is translated from the Hebrew which means dedication. Many schoolchildren know the story of the small unadulterated oil found in THE temple in Jerusalem after it was mostly destroyed by the Syrian Greeks.  The oil lasted for 8 days rather than a single expected day, long enough for a rider to get a replacement from another city. The oil is central to the dishes we eat for Chanukah , everything deep fried,  (OK, so we skip healthy for one night) .

Many Jewish Holidays seem to be we were few , we beat the big army: Now, we can live as Jews!  Let’s eat.

Since the story of the Hasmoneans beating the Greek army involves the miracle of the small vial of oil that had hat been defiled by the Greeks lasting 8 days.(Long enough for a rider to get another replacement supply for the Temple in Jerusalem). We now celebrate with foods fried in oil.  Typical foods involve latkes (potato pancakes) (recipe to follow) and sufganiyot an Israeli jelly doughnut that puts  Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme to shame (By the way , I love Dunkin Donuts).  By the way, this recipe is kosher, Gluten-Free, vegan and delicious! Perfect for celiac sufferers who avoid this recipe because it is usually made with flour.

Remember, you don’t have to be Jewish to like or make Potato Latkes.

Preparing the latkes (and Potato kugel)#latke #kugel this way keeps you from having a  grey potato dish which I always found unappetizing. #sufganiyot #oilChanukah #oilHanukah

Potato Latkes for Chanukah or anytime

Enough for 3 to 4 people

2 Large White Potatoes, peeled

1 peeled onion

salt

1 egg

Mild flavored Vegetable oil such as safflower or corn

Grate the short side of  the Potatoes against the larger spaced sides of a box grater into a bowl of ice water. Allow to sit for at least 10 minutes which gives the potato starch time to set in the water.  Squeeze the water out by handfuls of potato into a second bowl until most potato is gone from first bowl. Grate onion into drained potatoes and add salt and pepper. Pour off the water slowly from first bowl, leaving some more grated potato and the natural potato starch. When you have all the water poured off, add it to the second bowl and mix well.

Fill frying pan with 1 1/2 inches of oil an d heat.  add potato mixture by the soup spoon into the hot oil.  Give the latkes about 2 minutes to turn golden brown and flip them , til brown on the second side.  then, place on paper towl line plain to drain off excess oil. Keep going with all potato mixture.

For me, there is nothing better than latkes topped with apple sauce.  Pthers recommend sour cream with chives.

Variation  If latkes are too boring, grate in either a little carrot, zucchini or some fresh chopped parsley although I am a purist myself

No time to fuss, call on your chef in Florida , Helen thttp://forms.aweber.com/form/16/373053016.htmo make this and other holiday favorites for you in your kitchen

 Please join my email list for more information, recipes and cooking tips and  contests.

http://forms.aweber.com/form/16/373053016.htm

helen@helenshomecooking.com

561-676-2078 http://www.helenshomecooking.com

When can we schedule your free consultation, either over the phone or in your home?

String Bean Casserole From Scratch

15 Nov

I deal with so many different food allergies, sensitivities and keeping kosher, that I have to re-do all of the holiday dishes..In my house for the holidays. String Bean Casserole has to be dairy free as it is served with meat in a kosher home, gluten free for my husband, and mushroom free for my mother in law while she was alive.

So here goes…
STRING BEAN CASSEROLE

2 pound string beans raw  (frozen works too)

1 small onion diced

1 large onion cut into slices

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms
1 rib celery diced

1/2 cup soy,rice or almond milk (unsweetened and unflavored)
2 Tbsp. gluten free flour
dash of nutmeg
1/2 cup vegetable stock or chicken stock

1 Tbsp olive oil (or other vegetable oil or dairy free margarine)

Prepare fresh string beans by cutting off the tips and slicing them into two to three inch pieces.  Place into pan with boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes and drain,  They will cook longer in the casserole and you are trying to avoid the overcooked taste. Drain and put into casserole.   Preheat oven to 350.

Add oil to fry pan and heat. add diced onion and celery and as they soften add in the gluten free flour and stir for about one minute, then add the alternative milk and cook for a few minutes while stirring until it starts to thicken and add the dash of nutmeg (best with all cream sauces, dairy or not).  Then slowly add the stock to the roux whole stirring. Wheen it is the thickness of a cram sauce, add it to the string beans in the casserole

Take the sliced onions and spray them with oil and put them in the oven for about 10 minutes until then brown.  Place on top of the casserole and bake in oven for about 20 minutes until browned and bubbly.

NB. French’s onion rings are kosher and pareve. they can be used in [lace of the onion ring section of the recipe!

Enjoy

Disclaimer.  I am a cook that does most recipes by “eye” and does not usually measure ingredients.  If you have suggestions. Please let me know

#stringbeancasserole #GlutenFree #DairyFreestringbeancasserole #Stringbeancasserolenomushrooms

Rosh HaShanah Dishes for the Soul

6 Sep

Rosh Hashana inspires dishes for the soul

Comments 0

Personal chef Helen Gottesman of Helen’s Home Cooking prepares a kosher holiday meal. (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Before Helen Gottesman looks into the depths of the new year, she glances back to remember the sweetest, most flavorful dishes of her childhood.

Rosh Hashana inspires dishes for the soul photo

The most vivid culinary memory of Rosh Hashanas past: Pflaumenkuchen, her Czech-German grandmother’s special plum tart.

“I remember the smell of the plums. My mother made a couple of dishes wonderfully, and one of them was my grandmother’s plum tart. She would use Italian prune plums. They came into season shortly before Rosh Hashana – and it was a short season,” recalls Gottesman, a New York native who works as a personal chef in Boynton Beach.

This is the great motif of Gottesman’s home cooking – comfort foods that pay homage to family memories. And as the Jewish New Year begins at sunset tonight, ushering in 10 days of reflection and repentance, she will greet it with prayer, introspection and kosher dishes reminiscent of her younger years in the Kew Gardens Hills neighborhood of Queens.

Rosh Hashana inspires dishes for the soul photo

“We would always have the matzo ball soup and, typically, challah,” says Gottesman, 55, who now bakes eight loaves of traditional challah bread at a time.

Helen Gottesman prepares her plum tart (or pflaumen kuchen). (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

And because Rosh Hashana exalts the sweetest of foods – as in honey-dipped apples to beckon happiness – there was always a piece of that ­fragrant, open-face plum tart, a culinary prayer for a sweet life.

Today, in accordance with her Orthodox Jewish faith, Gottesman keeps a kosher kitchen. But “kitchen” is a movable notion for a woman who turned a love of cooking Shabbat dinner for friends – and a knowledge of nutrition and kosher standards – into a small enterprise she calls Helen’s Home Cooking ( helenshomecooking.com).

Usually, she cooks in other people’s kitchens.

“Because I focus on kosher cooking and I keep kosher myself, I’m aware that people are particular about anything that comes into their house,” says Gottesman, who shares her home with husband. Robert, an educator, and 16-year-old son, Adir.

So when she cooked an early Rosh Hashana dinner at a friend’s home on a recent weeknight, Gottesman worked with fresh ingredients her friend had shopped for and brought only the items her friend was missing. While other mobile chefs may carry their own knives and trusty spice kits, she used her friend’s cooking vessels and kitchen utensils.

On the menu that day: one soul-warming comfort dish after another. She roasted a chicken with sweet potatoes, white potatoes and carrots, a sweet noodle kugel with sugar and apples, a batch of almond-flecked green beans, a steaming pot of matzo ball soup and her grandmother’s plum tart.

It’s the kind of cooking that stirs easy conversation with friends and clients.

“If I’m in their kitchen, I hear their food stories, what they like and what they don’t, what their idea of comfort food is. For some, it’s lasagna. You never know. It all depends where and how they grew up,” says Gottesman.

She says a lot of her clients are seniors who don’t cook for themselves anymore. “And they don’t like the takeout places. Typically, what they want is the comfort foods they grew up with,” says the chef.

She dreams of opening a healthy kosher café one day, “a place of coffee, homemade breads and vegetarian items.” But for now she cooks wherever a kitchen welcomes her.

“I love cooking,” says Gottesman. “When I start cooking, I can get a little carried away and my husband tells me, ‘Don’t you realize there are only three of us in this house?'”

PFLAUMENKUCHEN (PLUM TART) WITH MUERBETEIG DOUGH CRUST

TO MAKE THE CRUST:

1 cup margarine

3 cups flour

2 egg yolks

1 lemon

1/4 cup sugar

Cream margarine and sugar, add flour then egg yolks along with grated rind of lemon along with the juice. Chill dough for at least half an hour and then pat into large pie tin with fingers.

TO MAKE THE PLUM TART:

Muerbeteig dough

6-9 Italian prune plums

1 teaspoon sugar

Cut plums into eighths and place them skin side down in the pie pan starting with the outside going halfway up the side. When all of the space is covered, sprinkle with sugar and bake for about 30 minutes at 350º. Tart is done when crust is lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before serving.

ROAST CHICKEN WITH VEGETABLES

Serve with vegetables on the side.

1 chicken cut into eighths or serving size pieces

1 large sweet potato or 2 medium, peeled and cut into chunks

2 white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 large onion sliced or cut into chunks

1 zucchini, sliced

Garlic, a few cloves

1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced or diced

Salt and pepper, to taste

Paprika, to taste

In a roasting pan place bed of vegetables and mix them up and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, top with chicken pieces skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and paprika.

Place in preheated 350º oven. After 30 minutes, turn chicken pieces over and sprinkle salt and pepper and paprika on the chicken if you have not already done so. When this is done (it will be browned) turn chicken pieces back to skin side up and cook for another 30 minutes. (Cooking time is about 1 hour, 15 minutes to 11/2 hours.)

STRING BEANS ALMONDINE

1 to 11/2 pounds string beans

1 tablespoon margarine

1/4 cup almonds, slivered or sliced

1/4 red pepper, slivered

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut tips off string beans. Either leave beans whole or slice into 1 to 2 inch pieces. Place into boiling salted water until they are tender, but still bright green in color.

Drain the string beans. In the same pot, melt margarine and lightly sauté almonds. Add red pepper and cook to soften slightly. Then add the string beans to heat through.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon, and serve.

Recipes by Helen Gottesman,   http://www.helenshomecooking.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mini Spicy zucchini Cheese quiches

31 Jul

Mini Spicy zucchini Cheese quiches

One of my standard dairy appetizers for parties is these mini cheese quiches. I use about 3 to 4 dozen of the mini muffin cups (in the freezer section from Wal-mart or another store. I dice up about 6 ounces of Cabot Pepper Jack cheese (Cheddar ma ybe used if you don’t like spice) and put it in the muffin cups. Saute 1 finely diced or grated zucchini in 1 T.oil until slightly browned. Divide evenly between muffin cups, Mix 1/4 cup milk and 2 egg yolks and a dash of nutmeg and pour over the vegetables and cheese filling to near the to. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 degrees until browned on top Serve while hot

Let me know how you like it.

Share-a-Chef

8 May

 

This week I was scheduled to cook for the second time for a senior couple in Del Ray

Beach Florida.  An hour before I was scheduled to start shopping, I got a call from Mrs. L. Her next  door neighbor, also a senior wanted the same dishes, only packed singly. I told them I could give them a discount since I was making the same dishes for each.

I made them three main dishes, four portions for each family. I charged them only $259 including groceries for each, lower than my usual price of $275.00. the requested dishes included: Beef Stew, Apricot chicken, Salmon with ginger and Lime ( the recipe is in my blog). Also the side dishes broccoli kugel, noodle kugel, and roast cauliflower and Split Pea Soup.
when can we cook for you?
I would love your feedback. Helen@helenshomecooking.com or call me at 561-676-2078 .
Thanks,
Helen

gremolata (for string beans)

13 Mar

gremolata (for string beans).

Passover/Pesach Cooking and Preparation

11 Mar

I am reposting this from 2 years ago… counting down to Pesach/Passover.
To the observant Jew, preparing for Passover has many challenges and opportunities.  I will plan ahead and not drive myself crazy.. I took an hour this morning and went through my pantry to review what I wanted to use up prior to the holiday (2 started boxes of whole-wheat pasta and one of lasagna noodles).  I look through packages, especially baking items and spices to see they are not expired (the experts suggest keeping the dried spices no longer than 6 months),  I HAD TO DIVEST MYSELF OF THE CREAM OF TARTAR.  A recent client asked me to make baking powder biscuits , insisted she had baking powder and found at the last minute that it expired in 2002, long before she moved to Florida!

.I also go through the medicine chest and find expired over the counter meds and prescription meds. We don’t use a lot of meds so this was a quick process.

By Wed evening there will be no food going out of the kitchen and dining room….I hope.

 

Chef Helen
Helen@helenshomecooking.com
561-676-2078

Pesach Kosher Dinner Menus

8 Jan

I am starting to get calls about catering seders for groups for the Passpver seder. This year (2013/ 5773) Passover begins on March 26th. I am able to prepare food in my client’s home or kosher commercial kitchen. The most requested dinner items have traditionally been turkey or brisket. This year I have have been hearing from people looking at options at a lower cost (also healthier) such as shicken or capon..
I would of course prepare the traditional Seder plates, sides such as tsimmes and potato kugel,appetizer such as as gefilte fish and desserts as well as traditional matzoh ball soup. I have not figured out pricing exactly but we are probably talking about $36/per person with 10 or more people.

Pricing Structure

29 Oct

 

 

 

I just posted clarification of my pricing structure for my Personal Cheffing.  I have  made these inclusive prices, to make budgeting easier.

This appears on my website www.helenshomecooking.com .  Call me if you have questions, 561-676-2078

Regular Cook Date Pricing

  • Starter for Initial Cook date,

    3 dishes, 4 portions, $225.00 groceries included

    3 main Dishes, 4 portions each $295.00 5 main dishes, 2 portions each $325.00 5 main dishes 4 portions each $375.00 5 main dishes, 6 portions each $449.00

    groceries are included, (unless you need unusual ingredients, (such as organic kosher bison)   Special dietary Needs may involve an additional charge of $40/50.00 to allow for additional menu planning and shopping

Thanksgiving Dinner Planning

15 Oct

I am planning out a Thanksgiving dinner for a client .   turkey, stuffing sweet potatoes, veggies, pumpkin or butternut squash soup, potato kugel and desserts.  Yum!

Who else needs meals or side dishes for turkey day?

561-676-2078  chefhelen@helenshomecooking.com  www.helenshomecooking.com

Sukkot (Sukkos?) dishes

1 Oct

Stuffed Cabbage for Sukkot

The holiday of Sukkot (Sukkos) commemorates the Clouds of Glory that followed the Jews while they travelled for 40 years in the desert.

Traditionally (I don’t remember the reason, will google it later…..we make wrapped foods, like kreplach (wonton) in our soup,  I plan on making stuffed cabbage , P{flaumenkuchen and chicken soup  (maybe I WILL try kreplach as I did not to it too successfully years ago.

Will post recipe later!

What other dishes would you make for the holidays?

Sukkah almost finished!

30 Sep

Thanks to the hard work of my husbsand robert over the past few hours, my sukkah is almost complete.  fortunately, we have a screened in patio at the back of our house wich is eight by 30 and big enough for a crowd or just the 3 of us as needed.

He removed everything and used outdoor clorox a scrubbrush and hose to clean it.  then, he cut down palm branches on our property and asked a few neighbors if he could cut theirs (living in florida makes  this soooo easy) and laid them over a few firring strips on top of our screened in porch! Voila!

Bow i must get shopping and cooking.

Oh maybe an extra table for guests!

 

Keep away the RAIN PLEASE!

Kosher Personal Chef in Non-Kosher World

4 Sep

Many of my current and prospective clients are non-Observant Jews in South Florida .  Since I am Observant, I spoke with my rabbi to see how I could cook for my clients in their home who do not keep kosher and still make a living doing this while following Jewish Law (Halacha) which prohibits giving non-kosher food to another Jew.

According to my Rabbi, I need to only offer Kosher meat to my clients, not give them any meat/dairy combinations, and no shellfish.

To accomplish this, I use the equipment the client has in their home (stoves, knoves, potas, pans) and offer an inclusive price for my services so I can offer only kosher food to my clients.  I will make a few dollars less and they get a better product.!!

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